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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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Well ,Every Dog has its Day , and today people its mine .

CAT well this three letter word has become more of an over hyped phenomenon ( truly just in my honest opinion ) . My tryst with destiny began ages ago in 2005 the first year i gave CAT. Yes i did the usual things , i went to IMS , I gave the mocks , I was never bad , but I dare say I was also never great ,if there was one thing that got me 99+ percentiles it was verbal . Well as I said I did the usual things , with the exception that things with the sort of unusual person I am , dont always stay very usual. I lost my mind in between and started believing DI would be my nemesis , I was horribily bad at calculation based DI though logic was my strength. On CAT day the IIMs seemed to have guessed my aptitude and 2005 was the year when the pattern for DI changed completely and CAT DI became less calculation based and more logic based , I got a 97+ in DI and a 92 overall.

I had a job from campus ( A Chinese product based company ) , with a Chinese way of life. I did my internship and started working with them , my days and nights comprised of one thing code , code and more code ( for the uninitiated , code , is an abstruce language developed by human beings to keep themselves busy and occupied on lifeless but more intelligent forms of machinery(popularly known as computers) ) . Anyway , never gave CAT 2006 , while two of my best friends got kickass percentiles and went to MDI and IIM C , one went on to win the Aditya birla scholarship . Well what is its relation to me , well you can imagine rock bottom that my self esteem hit at that point , in case you cant , well I really cant help you can I .

That was that , I prepared (yes again for CAT 2007 ) , again the same story , I would sometimes wake up at 3:00 in the morning and wonder what the hell am I going to do . That was that , CAT 2007 was another disastor. I realised one thing PREPARATION IS NOT FOR ME. I realised (or rather was made to realise by some friends whom I am now indebted to) that on any given day , given paper I can solve the number of questions i need to clear the cutoffs in each section all I need is the right ATTITUDE. I got depressed and managed to move around like a zombie. To beat it I got one call and one reject from SP Jain , I had no idea what was wrong.

Hence come 2008 I gave the GRE applied for MS and decided to end this obsession with an arbitrary exam which lakhs of people give each year,I wanted to do a Post grad, have a university life, live in a different country, experience, make my life interesting. The dollar surged against the rupee , the world economy was tumultuous , and the rest as they say is history. But sometime in between Yours Truly decided to fill the CAT form ( by this time I was programmed to do so : ) ).

I attended horse riding classes at palace grounds , went to one of my friends places to vegetate, went to an NGO to work on weekends , filled MS apps when thousands of people were taking and analyzing the mocks, I was living my life .

On Sat November 16th I was thinking hard if i should bunk a horse riding class and waste 5 hours of my time to give an exam I have given twice. Finally I decided to go , my room mate was at the same center as mine and didn't know the location well , I said what the hell , I will go with her. Again ,The rest as they say is history. This year of all , I got calls from IIM B,L,K,S with a 98.73 (OA) and 94+ sectional in all. Yes the one year I did nothing except relax and not take it to heart.

I got a MS accept, I got a promotion at work, I converted my B and K calls ,though L was a straight reject and one of my funniest interviews, I resigned from work ,all in chronological order.

And guess what I got to know about both my calls and my convert at IIM B through PG.

People can make all the difference ...
I owe a pair of JOSE headphones (originally it was BOSE that i had promised but then what the heck 350 $ no chance), a pair of chaddis ( not the pink ones ) to my friends that I had promised if I get through B.

For me this line sums it up ...

"A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance. "

One friend told me that we can never know the bigger scheme of things , and maybe even if we did we would never change it, though we think we would. Chew on it. Read about chaos theory, read albert camus, read marcel proust, Maybe the universe is meant to be in a state of chaos and any attempt to bring it to order is futile.

Cheers and God bless !


For one week after the results were announced I did nothing but party and relax - GD/PI prep will come but for the time being I had to live the moment. I was at my hometown, relaxing with my cousins and family members - that provided me the fuel to take a leap into the GD/PI prep. The next week, I came to know about the CL bootcamp and braced myself for that. Now, the bootcamp is something I would recommend to any puy thinking of converting his/her IIM calls. It was one helluva experience - it went for two days and I would say I almost matched a strict Bschool regimen. We did nothing but GDs, Funda gaining session, Mock PIs, GK overhaul etc. I also met some great people out there - bootcamp is something I am not going to forget for quite some time to come. I came to know about my weaknesses (soft voice, need to have enough knowledge of my hobbies etc.) and worked towards filling the gaps. I took the TIME material and went through the various PI experiences. This helped me a lot in knowing the kind of questions that are normally asked. Apart from that, used to attend weekend GD drills at TIME. I knew I am not a great performer in GD - all I needed to make sure was to make 2-3 valid points. Ah, the next thing was acads - I made a word doc about my syllabus from my insti site and started mugging up that I started to learn some 7 years earlier. It was nothing short of a rediscovery. By the time my first interview (IIMB) came, I was mostly ready.

Each IIM interview was unique in its own way. However, I liked the IIMA and IIMC interviews a lot. The former was more of a kind of discussion and we even discussed Hindi Grammar for some time. The latter was a stress interview, but I somehow enjoyed being massacred there.

And again came the wait for results. As the days were nearing I was getting more and more anxious. On 9th afternoon, IIML put up a test link and it said I was through. But then I wanted an official confirmation, and more importantly about the BIG 3 - A,B,C. At night, I came to know that I am not in the list released by B. My anxiety acquired a new dimension - couldn't sleep the whole night. At around 6, woke up from bed knowing there is no use of trying to sleep. Came to know that L had put its official link - my convert was retained there. A sigh of relief - I am heading to an IIM atleast. But needed to know what happened with A,C desperately. Then came the C result - I gathered myself, entered my TR No. and DOB and then came the message - "Congratulations...." - it felt like I had attained nirvana. Waited for A result and I had converted that as well.

Now I was in a dilemma between A and C. I had to make that choice - called up my friends and after a lot of thought, I have almost decided to head for WIMWI. :)

Now I have entered the world of MBA and my next concern is interns. As you see, problems in life never end, and that's what makes it so exciting. :)

Tips to CAT Aspirants:

i) Always keep up your confidence levels, and that doesn't mean assuring yourself that you can do it. It should come from within, it should based on some things which you have achieved through your hard work. Fake confidence doesn't help anytime. Neither does over-confidence.

ii) Get over the "Ego" factor. If you are not able to solve a DI Puzzle Set or a QA problem amidst a test, leave it at that. You probably have the clout to solve the others. And let me assure you - there is never a dearth of questions.

iii) Practice. Practice. Practice. And practice doesn't mean doing some from the basic study material. Practice means solving quality questions from previous (and recent) CAT papers, Mock CATs etc. I would advise you to get the last two years' TIME Mock papers and try to solve each QA and DI question from them. And resort to aid, only if you are convinced that the question is beyond you. Never try to get over the "Ego" factor while practicing. But make sure that you are able to solve questions of similar pattern fast if they reappear.

iv) Read. Read. Read. Read anything you can lay your hands on. It may be the newspaper (esp. the editorials. Would strongly recommend The Hindu), Magazines (would strongly recommend Businessworld), Fiction (would strongly recommend books by Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Ayn Rand & Jhumpa Lahiri) and Non-Fiction (there are a hell lot of topics you can pick from, including Philosophy). Apart from that, somewhat lesser fun to do is to solving the RCs from previous CATs/Mock CATs.

v) Follow PG regularly. But not to the extent that it turns out to be an addiction. Subscribe to mailing lists like QQAD (Quant Question A Day) and DI question a day. Keep updating your mock scores in the thread meant for it and keep assuring yourself. If possible, do track what actually went wrong with a specific mock, so that you can fill in the gaps.

v) CAT is not the end of the world. Allocate a good quantity of your time to your regular activities (acads if you are studying & work if your working). Note that a good percentage in graduation is the requirement of any good college - don't spoil your chances by spoiling your grades. CAT will come many times, but a bad GPA/percentage in your college is going to haunt your profile forever.

i am deletinmg this post..sorrry


I guess I can lay claim ...to writing here ... although I am gonna Join XLRI.

The day I could not get into IIT's and my claim to do so ...after dropping one year..( as is the usual fare in Bihar ...my native place) ..was successfully vetoed by my family ....

I had to get into IIM's ...That is the freaking way my mind perceives things!!

(I still maintain...that I was and am good enough for both the institutions( as so many of fellow puys and my peers are) ...People ..the way I see it is that.. this country of ours ...has such a large talent pool ...that we cannot afford to ..give IIx education to all the deserving people...so ...D day matters ...and a section of people get in ...and the rest ..are left ..back ...to pay ..what I call the "cost" that the bearers ...of a "developing" nation have to pay .. I am not complaining .. I love India.)

Well.. joined ..NIT Surathkal.(engg folks ..know about this better than "good" college )..after a fair enough performance in AIEEE 2004.
Turned out to be best decision of my life till date.
All other great things like ...an international size swimming pool, a private college beach ...a cosmopolitan culture ..and awesome placements apart ...this college is the best ..launching pad for higher studies. Consider this .. of my class of 34 students ...passing out ....15 straightaway went for MS in USA/Canada etc.

So after ... reading novels .... playing CS .. wasting time for 3 years in college ... CAT 2007 was in sight ...and I was damn confident.
Gave some initial mocks...and all.. performed very well...and worked really hard ...like practised and all....
My college has a history kind of ..of sending 12-15 people to IIM's every year ...and all my friends believed I would also ...get in .

The biggest mistake around this time that I did was ... ignored ..my almost ...constant failure to ...cross sectional percentiles ..in any one section ...throughout the mocks season ..!!!

I thought ...ek din ki baat hai ..it will come good on the good day !!
I used to get good enough overall scores( 99 +- 0.1 percentiles ) ...so that was also fair enough!!

Screwed up DI in CAT 2008 big time. And it was the easiest section.
percentile : 96.57
I never got less than ..98.5 in mocks... but i was disappointed ...only with myself !!
I remember my Mom said to me the day results were out ...only this much ..
Does it matter ?? You know ..that you are good enough ...I know that you are good enough ?? Your friends know that ?? what else ?? How many times they will refuse ?? you have 4 months of final year ..enjoy karo "

I tried to forget ....enjoyed my last few days in college to the limit ...went home before joining my company.
It was around July 2008. CAT was again back to my mind. Still I did nothing. I dint want to overwork...I had a fair idea of things ...I was not so to say " weak" in any of the sections ..like ...none of the sections were like pulling me down ...I knew it was the day that mattered !!

So around August .. I joined ...IMS ..(decide to change ..it was...TIME in college) ... decent enough i felt .. but felt like more practice... So took Career launcher ...also..on saturday ... I must thank my two flatmates ...they r friends bk from college ...and they joined with me ..!!

IMS gives a good all around ... competition ...and Carrer Launcher's individual questions are really good.....sometime CL goofs up on setting a nice paper overall...too tough or too easy ...!!

Was performing well ....never below 98.5 .. in the later stages ...also ...came in below AIR 100 also many times.

I also realised three things :

1. Any student, however brilliant and balanced HAS to surrender himself to the demands of the exam pattern in front of him. You just cant be egoistic and hard headed.

2. Self analysis is the key. You can't survive such immense competition if you dont understand how does your mind behaves during a test. When does it need rest ?? When should you stop attempting a DI set ...and go back to a chilled out VA questions ?? Things like that !!

3. Accuracy In Quant and DI is the key. It serves you immensely if you can get the feel of balancing your attempts and their accuracy as per the needs of the paper ! Period !!

just went and gave CAT 2008. I knew as soon as I came out ki ...I had screwed it up ...As a principle, I never check my scores with online results and all...But pata tha ki ...Quant was screwed up ...again the easiest one !!

Had a call from IIFT meanwhile ... but heart was not there ... would not have joined even ...if I had got it..at least this year !!

So went home ...10 days .. came back ...Lots of work in office .. dint touch pen for one month ..till XAT ...4th Jan ..

Decided on 3rd jan after seeing last year's actual XAT paper of mine ..

Only one strategy ... forget it was XAT ... Convert XAT to CAT .. ignore all special types of questions ....choose CAT tyoe questions and solve them !!

The minute I came outta XAT, i knew ...it was good ....I would surely get a call!!

Finally got ...99.7
My mom was happier than I was ...hehe ...coz she had seen ...that ..I had screwed up quant again !! I just kept telling her .ki ..mummy ..luck bhi chahiye ...kaafi logon ke saath hota hai !! Its a one-day thing !!

Interviews...and all...no special preparation..

rejects from IIFT .. expected ... very bad interview ...because I was brutally honest ..all throughout the intrvw.

FMS .. god only knos ..why they rejected me .. 99.75 .. and a good gd/PI ...

xlri .. CONVERTED ...jOINING ..NTHNG SPECIAL ...they asked me ..some different questions ..which I could manage !!

Not IIM's but XLRI ..Fair deal ...considering ...how unlucky ..you can be ...on the basis ...of 3 hrs .. or ..one bad day at GD/ PI.

Pagalguy .. has been awesome throughout
.. I cant thank ....puys enough !!

The net result is
" Always ask yourself ...Do you want it that bad ??? "


"it" always listens and responds !!

I cannot thank the Almighty enough for giving me a chance to post on this sacred thread. This one is straight from the heart for God, for him, for you all.
I think I am special out of lots of people who clear CAT because I have a unique "quant-phobia" (like many arts/ commerce girls) but despite that I got through IIML.
From the begining I despised maths That's why I had chosen the commerce stream after 10th (despite being a 'National Science Olympiad' winner...). In 12th I got 82 in maths. Yet my other papers managed to fetch me a 92% and I got through Economics (Hons.) in SRCC, my dream college.
Maths didn't desert me in SRCC. The story continued since Economics is a maths-heavy course. I became a mediocre in SRCC because I scored badly in maths, stats and related papers.
Maths didn't desert me after SRCC also. It started haunting me with a new name - QUANT - in my dream paper, CAT. And now I have to go for maths foundation course at IIML. Life is such a bitch!
My tryst with the CAT began in 2006 Novemeber when I planned to write this over hyped exam
CAT 2006 - CAT threw a big surprise - 75 questions- 25 in all 3 sections! I got into the trap. I think I did 20-22 questions in VA (why! Why! Why!)and 10 each in DI & QA. When the result came I realized I had 35 each in DI & QA (both the sections fetched me close to a 90%ile) and a hopeless 12 marks in VA - that gave me a 72%ile in VA. I was shattered not coz of a low score but because my strength - VA dinged me! No calls of course.:|
Finally in the 2006 season I got a lone TISS call. I thought I had a great GD (I started the GD) & a decent PI (except for the why HR question, about which I had no clue, being a fresher). But TISS rejected me. I was not very sad because I wanted to give the CAT again. I joined Hewitt and started working in 2007.
Lessons Learned: Do not underestimate any section or the GDPI process:nono:. Any section or any stage of the process could be your nemesis, even your perceived strength area.
Thankfully I got through a good company, a consulting firm in September 2007 (again because of their verbal based written paper). I was enjoying my work and prepared a little bit for CAT 2007. I also realized about GMAT sametime & this gave me the hope that I need not settle for a bad B-school since I can always go to Amrika if not IIM
CAT 2007: A replica of CAT 2006. I gave the paper without serious prep. Still VA & DI were good. Both sections fetched me a 95+. But my under-preparation in quant was my nemesis. CAT 2007 Qaunt was much tougher than CAT 2006 quant. & I got a BIG ZERO with 25%ile in QA in CAT 2007!!!!!!
This scared me big time. I knew that quant was the problem area. I could do fairly ok in an easy SNAP or NMAT type quant paper but for a CAT & XAT my quant needed major work. CAT 2007 did not do anything to me except that it further developed my quanto-phobia.
Lessons Learned: QUANT / QUANT / QUANT / QUANT
I was doing fairly well in my job. & Simultaneously I decided to 'give-it-all' to CAT in 2008. I joined TIME mocks. From May 2008 onwards I studied for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the eve after office, daily. Left every worldly pleasure for 6 months and only concentrated on CAT.
But I continued to score miserably in TIME in QA section. :|
Meanwhile God sent an angel for me. A dear friend of mine, and a gem of a person helped me out with QA. He patiently made me understand fundamentals of quant. We studied together & that greatly helped me. I cant thank him enuf ever :)
And yes this time my hard work bore fruits. This is how my score card looked on 9th Jan 2009:
Test Section Score Percentile
Section - I Quantitative 28.00 (out of 100) 88.40 (just managed :p)
Section - II Logic & Data Interpretation 43.00 (out of 96) 98.11
Section - III Verbal 89.00 (out of 160) 99.87
Total 160.00 (out of 356) 99.81
You have been shortlisted by the following IIM's for their PGP interviews. Details available on the individual institute's website (candidates for IIMC should check whether they are shortlisted for PGDM or PGDCM or both):
Indore Lucknow
And then began the GDPI prep - a journey of self introspection, lots of fun, learning & unlearning.
Finally on April 10th I came to know that I had converted both IIML & IIMI (WL, but should convert). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The feeling is awesome!
So I am off to helL!!!!

My 7 cents for all future CAT aspirants:
  1. Have faith in your abilities. If you believe you can, you will. (Clich but true)
  2. If you fail, don't give up. Try again. (Clich but true)
  3. Analysis of mocks is the most important part of your preparation. (key to CAT)
  4. Work regularly in all sections (any section can ding you, trust me).
  5. To improve in your weak area, study with some one who is good at that and probably bad in the section that is your strength. (this helps immensely):thumbsup:
  6. Total Gadha number system book, QQAD & Arun Sharma material is great for scoring in QA (I am not advertising but only sharing what helped me in QA).
  7. Pagalguy is a great place and a must for all CAT aspirants. Period.
Rock on!!


After the results came for CAT 2007, I decided that CAT 2008 would be the last CAT I would be giving and that I would put in my 100%. Two of my room-mates made it to A & C and that indeed inspired me. But still, I didn't hurry it up - I was waiting for the mock season to start. I came to know about the utilities of PG through a colleague of mine. I subscribed to the QQAD mailing list and I would say that it took my Quant skills to the next level. I would strongly recommend it to anyone preparing for CAT. The questions are no doubt tougher than CAT, but once you start solving them, CAT questions just seem like cake-walk. I also picked up previous AIMCATs and started solving various DI sets. I came to know about many tips for solving puzzle based LR questions and various patterns involved. This segregation helped me in seeing through the clutter and provided me a solid framework for handling the dreaded LR questions. It was during the same time that the pagalguy premiere league was formed - and I became part of the Bangalore DT - I saw some awesome people there. This motivated me even more to perform well in the mocks. This time I joined two series - one of CL and one of TIME. Used to give CL mocks on Saturdays and TIME mocks on Sundays. That made sure that I was kept busy for most of the next week. When the mocks started, I started with a bang (99.85) partly because of the lack of prepared junta joining the mocks and partly due to the efforts that I had put in for around 1 month before that. I tried to keep maintaining my percentiles about 99 trying to clear all cutoffs. The more important thing I did was to not get bogged down by an occasionally low score. Such scores helped me in filling gaps and handling situations not encountered before. Plus, I made it a point to analyze each mock and solve each of the problem I left unattempted (Especially the DI sets). I continued with QQAD and started reading lots of stuff over internet and I picked up some good books like Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. Load on the work front was lesser than the last year, so was able to dedicate some time of mine to these activities. I thought I was all set for the BIG one (the last Mock at TIME was indeed a confidence booster in this respect). One more good thing I did was to take a leave from work starting Wednesday (CAT was on Sunday). I gave some mocks during the time, and gave the easiest of the lot I had preserved for myself just the day before the exam. As expected I had blasted the Mock and that gave me the required confidence. I slept early and surprisingly was able to get at least around 7 hrs of sleep. Now all set for the exam - reached exam center about half an hour before - and braced myself for the MAINCAT0900.

Found 160 marks for VA, 100 each for DI&QA; - thought of giving more time to VA but ended up giving equal time to all three sections. Started with QA and found it easier than the last time and was smoothly going along without any speed-breakers. I wanted to maximize my score through Quant so decided to persist and attempted it for full 50 minutes. Then DI. DI was the toughest section in CAT 2008 and it did take a toll on me, given that DI is my weakest section. It was calculation intensive as well. Just managed to do 12 questions and hoped to get most of them correct. Started with the verbal part of VA - found it a bit difficult, but attempted some nevertheless. Then to RCs. RCs were a welcome development this time. The passages were easier to comprehend and there was lesser ambiguity in answer choices. This helped me gain the confidence and I did all except one RC. In the last 5 minutes and solved some questions in another VA set. Overall, I had committed some mistakes in all sections but the damage was limited.

I started worrying about DI after the dust settled. I had got two questions wrong for sure and that put my score at 38 - which turned out to be borderline case. Now began the excruciating wait for the results. But I would say that wait was worth it! Meanwhile the JMET results came and I was AIR 3. Now I was sure of making it to at least one good bschool (SJMSOM). On 8th Jan, the site was opening for some puys and I gave my TR. No. to enstranged_gnrs. I would be thankful to him for ever for posting that result. It was a dream come true. I had got all of the coveted BLACKI calls, and a whopping percentile of 99.88
Finally, I cracked CAT, and that too in a bang. Now was the time to pass the next hurdle - the GD/PI round.

(GD/PI Process aka the after-effects of CAT cracking)

The emotion that I attach with this thread cannot be put in words. Finally, the time has come for me to become the part of a legacy, and I have become a part of it with a bang! My first post will be just about my failures in the three CATs I gave earlier - its only through the failures does one gain motivation to succeed. It all started in 2004.


After having been placed in an MNC (I was in final year then), a friend of mine at IIT Kharagpur informed me of this discount available on Mocks by TIME. I was in no interest to do an MBA at that point of time, but my friend just convinced me to join the test series. I gave tests with a complete lack of seriousness - I didn't even used to look at the papers after coming back from test. I used to score in 80-90 range in the mocks - not that I cared, I just gave them to boost my ego. Had to go to Calcutta to give CAT - the pattern had changed. 123 questions in all, with differential marking. I started with Quant and was taking my own sweet time, then went to VA, then in the end to DI. I had very less time left for DI and screwed it on a colossal scale.


The final result was 95.88 with Quant and VA in 96s and DI 82 odd. Anyway, I forgot about CAT for a lot of time after that, and started working my ass off on my B.Tech project (mostly an IT project based on Java). I tried to increase my CG, and managed to make it 8.42 by the end of my degree. Later joined the MNC and was put in Mainframes. I just hated Mainframes as it was so outdated, but yet continued working in the MNC so that it doesn't leave a blot on my resume. Even the thought of CAT didn't appear in my mind, so didn't give CAT 2005


Around August, I quit IBM and I joined a mid-sized product company with primarliy telecom companies as clients. The work environment changed for good and was much more informal than the suffocation I faced in the MNC. This is the time I met two of my colleagues who were preparing for CAT and giving the Mocks. But still, I wasn't really "ready" for an MBA - just kept up with business as usual, but convinced by room-mates to give CAT just for the heck of it. I remember trying to solve a very hard DI set from an AIMCAT paper with my friend the day before the exam. That was the only preparation I did for the exam. Went to exam hall and saw that QA was a piece of cake. But lack of preparation led to me taking quite a lot of time - did it for 1 hr. Then came VA - it was the most arbit VA paper that I ever saw. My reading speed was pathetic then and I took my own time solving the paper - but the time I spent in office reading wikipedia articles did help me a bit. Again 1hr gone. 1/2 hr left for DI. The time I came to DI, it was literally a blackout - I had not practiced even a bit, and everyone knows how important practice is for DI. As I had to do it fast, I wasn't actually confident of even one question. I knew that I won't be able to clear DI cutoff anyway. The results came - Overall 96.xx, QA was 99.8x, VA was 99.3x (given that VA had been the the nemesis of many, this was a welcome development) and DI was 10.xx! (I actually scored ZERO in DI). I didn't feel so bad as I didn't prepare at all, but I thought of it as a lost oppurtunity as QA was not going to be as easy as it was in this CAT anymore. But then I was getting into the "MBA mode" - my work at office actually helped in realize the need for an MBA to boost my career.


I had caught up with my work at office, and was recognized by everyone for my contributions. Working in a mid-sized company gave lot of responsibility and independence to me with respect to my work. So I caught on with work, and was fairly busy everytime. The mock season came and I joined the TIME series. But I still repeated the same mistakes that I did back in college. I didn't use to do enough practice and nothing apart from a quick perusal of the mock paper after coming back. My scores always used to range in the 90s (the highest it once touched was 98 something). Apart fromt that work in the office was getting hectic. So at some point of time, I completely lost touch and there began a downward spiral in my scores. That led to a greater loss in confidence and quickly started losing hope. I clearly lacked information on those CAT crackers who had scored really less in their mocks. In short, I really missed pagalguy - although I had an id here, I rarely used to visit, mostly to post just my mock scores. CAT came and went - amidst my hectic work. I had a hard time convincing my manager for taking a leave on the Saturday before CAT. I was even thinking about my work stuff while writing CAT. My strategy was anyway screwed up. I attempted my weakest section - DI first - was able to score averagely there. Then moved on to verbal - I found it equally arbit, if not more, as 2006 - I took a full hr for this. I was left with just 45 mins for QA. Now the blackout had to happen with QA - I found it really tough - after not being able to solve 2-3 questions, pressure increased and I ended up making really bad mistakes. Anyway, result was worse than the last time - 95.xx with 89.xx in QA, 92.xx in VA, 89.xx in DI - I expected it. But I got a promotion at work and that kind of compensated for my grief of not cracking CAT.


After many attempts, I have finally been able to write this post. So here goes my story
I have never been an extraordinary student. I consider my self bright, but extremely lazy .Scored around 80% in 10th and 12th , with minimal efforts. Had a lucky day on AIEEE exam and managed to get into a decent engineering college. Managed to score 8.00 CGPA, thanks to the lenient marking system. Wasnt sure about what I wanted to do in life. Filled the CAT form, as all my friends were filling it. But one fine day, I saw one of my friends studying for the GATE, and decided to go for it. Filled the form, bought a book, only to realize that I could not handle so much of technical stuff. So, I ended up achieving new heights in computer gaming and sidelining the plans for higher education. Meanwhile, I managed to get 71%ile in CAT and 88%ile in GATE. Having no other option left, I joined an IT firm with the plan of working very hard and to become a geek (It sounds kewl). But destiny had other plans for me. I got a role where there was no work for me. Literally. In the first six months ,I hardly worked for a day or two. So I decided to give CAT another shot. Joined the TIME classes and started with vigor. But within two months, I had burned out. So, I spent the next six months going to the classes (Coz I had paid the fees) but making little efforts at home. But still I was quite optimistic of making it to a decent college. Managed 94%ile in CAT and calls from XLRI,SIBM,SCMHRD,XIMB. I was so confident of converting at least one of these that I didnt even prepare for the GDPI. The result : rejection from all. Meanwhile, some of my friends, who had performed no better than me in the mocks, have converted IIM calls.
I now feel happy that I have been rejected from these colleges. At least I know what I can achieve and more importantly ,what I want to achieve. I will not live my whole life with the regret that , I could have done better".


I'm sharing with all of you advise that I got from someone who's well placed in the industry....... I had mailed him after my CAT and this is what he sent me, i feel there's enough wisdom in his words for it to be shared with all of you....

Dear Shoaib,

We are doing great and am sure same your end. Good to hear that you have cleared the CAT / will be clearing the CAT with good marks. I am also honoured that you have given me the priviledge to advice you in this moment of your career decision. That put the niceties to one side so we can get to hard facts .

Shoaib, it is very necessary in life that you decide what you want and when you want. You can have choices in a thread i.e this takes priority, if not this then this and the list goes on. But end of the day - You make your own choices based on a informed future oriented basis.

First the colleges - frankly what makes a difference is you. The better college gives you a 1 year head-start at the most. You need to decide what you want to do not do what is available. So what is your personality, temperament, aptitude and interest suited to. Analyze that - FAST. Pay packages do not matter (They have all dropped) (CTC is different from take home) (INR 10 lac CTC could give you 35-45K take home max - if lucky) - what matters is that do you have a good foundation in your subject of choice and more have you assimilated the theory and can you utilize it practically with common sense. Sounds Scary! But thats what separates the men from the boys and the butter from the buttermilk.

Good courses - top of line are - IIMs - Generalist / FMS - Marketing / XLRI - HR / MICA - Media / IIFT - Foreign trade. Then come MDI etc.

As regards studying overseas - once again what are your objectives in life. Live Life Kingsize overseas on DAD's MONEY! Shoaib, I may seem rough and rude but thats how you will get treated once in the real world. You need to build your foundations - yourself and then build your dreams. But dont forget to dream because if you dont you will not have a target in life and without that you will not have a sense of achievement.

My advice:

(1) Reach Higher, Hit Harder, Grow faster. (2) Success seems to be connected to action, Successful people keep moving, They make mistakes but never quit. (3) Your attitude makes altitude and lastly and the most important (4) "I CAN, I WILL".

Do a SWOT on yourself. Identify your core points - positive and negative. Identify your personality, temperment, aptitude and interest. FAST. Then select the course you wish to do. Where does not matter other than a ego issue. You do not see too many IIM guys heading successful organisations. Why, What happened. What has happend to the high flyers with super pay pack at start up. How come they did not get successful finally. So keep a gap to grow. Plan. Stragically and most importent IMPLEMENT.

Shoaib, all this sounds rough and bad. But " The rocky path you will tread on now will lead you to the rainbow" provided you keep your head on your shoulders and feet on the ground.

Wish you all the best and success. Any query to email in and I will be glad to advice within my limited knowledge of courses gone past. Take care and I await your reply.

I will soon write my story on cat, i do feel its worth a read, but right now just grasping the moment and just praying that this feeling won't fade.....
had done a lot of questions. I was happy. But just then it struck me that I had committed silly mistakes in 2 sets or 8 questions. You must be wondering by now does thus guy never learn from the past. I would say LEOs are slow learners. :). Bas poora mood off ho gaya. Coz I knew even if I aced the other 2 sections I would never do well enough to get through. I dragged myself for 2 and half hours and all those memories came flooding back. I came out of the exam hall and went home
Results... 40%tile in DI, 90 odd in maths and 70 odd in VA. Overall 81 odd. Yes you are reading right. It was just 81. As usual the heroes anir_iim(my ideal for the season. He is in IIMA now.), prasant_iit_iim, basilsk, parulbajaj made great in CAT and deservedly went to the places they wanted. I was dejected. Special thanks to Prashant from IIT KGP here. He is one of the best guys I have ever seen in my association with PG.
I had calls from IIFT and SPJAIN this season and even after a fantastic PI (my thoughts) I could not convert IIFT. My GD was very bad though. Was asked to summarize at the end. In my ignorance I thought I had spoken the best that's why I am being asked to summarize. Poor screw head Srinibas.
Life in between CAT2007 and CAT2008
So 3 attempts and 3 botches. I decided that I won't take CAT ever again since a person with 81%tile cannot ever clear CAT. I told the same to my parents. They were dumbstruck by my decision and did not tell anything. By this time I was staying alone in Kolkata. CAT had taken out a lot of things from my life. I decided by now that all insanity (yeah that's what I call my obsession with the exam) must have an end. I had to stop. Come on Srini this cannot go on for ever. What more do you want to loose. Then I was asked to go on business work to Switzerland and Germany. Wow Germany my favorite soccer team. I readily agreed. Before that just to make more fun of myself I went to take the first TIME free AIMCAT. Yeah guys that was the aim. Just to see how lower I had fallen in aptitude. I was just relaxed. Went through the paper and came out. Never bothered to look at the solution and I just flew off to Europe and my dream country (Germany).
It was EURO2008 time. This was held in Switzerland only. My flat was a stone's throw from the French and the Dutch team hotels. Germany reached the finals yet again in a major tournament and it was due to sheer grit and tenacity. I was so impressed that I read all of German football history in Wikipedia. Then I thought of taking a look at the AIMCAT scores. Surprise of surprises I had scored 98.**. A first in any exam related to CAT. Thought it was a fluke and went back to work. After some days one of my friends told me on a separate context of course 'People quit when they do not realize how close they were to winning'. On the same day we had a discussion on 'When the going gets tough the tough gets going'. One of my very close friends also told me 'To take a longer jump you need to take 2 steps backward'. All these were healthy discussions and happened within a span of a day. Maybe fate was taking me for a ride. Then I thought maybe I am a ****head not to catch the hint. I said to me 'You don't have any right to be a German team fan if this is your attitude'. But hell yeah I am true German fan. I have the spirit. Come on Srini you can't just quit. That will so UNGERMAN.
The fire started burning again and I was longing to get back home to take AIMCATs. I came back but I had missed 5 AIMCATs by then. Yes I was also given a waiver in the AIMCAT fee coz of my decent score in the first AIMCAT. First real profitable venture of a wannabe MBA.I told my parents of my decision and they were dancing in the isles. Slowly but steadily I aced one AIMCAT after other. DI was a gray area though. I could never solve DI properly in the mocks . I had a sub 90 score in 2 AIMCATS and 96+ in the rest and 4 top rankers list. Well it's not great as a karanmaroo, sahilbansal, kamalaandi, varung, implex, anilgora to name a few but I was happy. Kisko phodu banna hai yaar. Ek seat hi to chahiye. I am happy if I am given the last seat.
I had also joined Carrer Launcher for a second series of MOCK CATs. People say that its stupid to join 2 AIMCAT series but I beg to differ. I think it is absolutely fine to join two and practise from diverse resources. Yaar proper analysis karne main 3 din se zyada kya lagega. Baki 3 din hai week main to analayse the second MOCK as well. So if you are serious you will find time for everything. Remember a busy man find time for everything that is important. Bahut funde ho gaye.Lets get back to the plot.
D Day (CAT 200 -- My most relaxed CAT. Went to the centre calmly in tracks and a loose T shirt and sandals. People were staring at me. I was looking like a fool. Paper was handed out.
First section -- Maths -- 17 questions done in 50 minutes. I was sure I had attempted 13 correctly.
Second Section -- DI -- My bete noire -- First 10 minutes were wasted. Could not solve a single question. Then all thoughts started creeping in. Again I said to me 'Not a worthy German soccer fan'. There was a miracle. Next 50 minutes was like knife through butter. 15 questions done. I was sure about 12. DI was tough this year. I knew it was a 98+ score. Time to move on.
VA -- I always was pretty confident about my English and thought that I will easily clear 96 percentile here within 40 minutes and my QA and DI will boost my overall. VA had 40 questions this year compared to 25 each in QA, DI. I attempted 25 questions in 40 minutes and was happy by the time the paper was over.
Came back and checked the solutions. Had committed some silly mistakes in QA, DI. But my decent number of attempts saved me. VA was different though. I was scoring somewhere between 45 and 50 from various keys. 50 was safe but I would definitely have missed out A and C with 45. Fingers crossed I waited for the results.
Finally some hours before the results were due they came out with the official keys. I got a rude shock that I had scored only 35 in VA. That meant a sub 90 %tile and all IIM dreams out of the window. Fate had other ideas this time around :)
My score card read QA -- 98.72, DI -- 98.66, VA -- 87. ** OA 98.66
I had been called by my dream college along with IIM Lucknow and IIM Shillong. The dream college was IIM Bangalore (I would have joined B even if I had an A or C convert). Well so far so good ain't it.
Started preparing or the GD/Interview processes. Each one came and went. But you know what I always had the low CAT score at the back of my mind. How can a person with 98.66 get into IIMB?
Special thanks to karanamroo who was the person I used to look up to for comparing DI scores. Alas on the D Day meri hi sayad nazar lag gayi usko. He did not do well in his strength area (DI). But don't worry Karan you are damn good and will make big in life.
The day of the results:-
I had an XIMB and NITIE (merit list number 2) convert by this time (2/2). Hoped to make it 4/4 on April the 10.
Moral from NITIE experience. -- In NITIE my rank was somewhere around 480 after the CAT scores. But when the final merit list was announced I was 2 (A senior had confirmed that the merit list was actually in order of our merit standings). So you see the importance of a good GD/PI. Don't ever loose heart after a poor written score. Just remember if you are good enough to be called you are better still to convert. So give your best shot.
April the 10 2009
First I went to IIML website. Typed in the registration number and my DOB. The message appeared
'Sorry you are *******'
I could not believe it was happening all over again. It seems like I am not ever going to an IIM. Then I rechecked my TR number and found that I had typed the wrong one. Typed in the corrected one again and I got the best message of my life.
'Congratulations. You have been --------------'.
I sat down; hands numb and read the message again and again. Seems like an eternity had passed and I started to pinch myself to believe that it was all happening. How could it be true? Was I being drafted into IIM Lucknow. Well heck I was, and wow I was, and yes I was, and truly I was. Phew. Thanked everyone from birds in the sky to the fish in the deepest parts of oceans and moved on to the real biggie. Yes my dream college IIM Bangalore. So now its 3/3. How it wanted it to be 4/4 which will ensure that I will move into IIMB.
Fate had another twist here too. Could not make it to my dream college. On hindsight theek hai I got a call from them right. Can't wait to go to HELL (For those of you who are unaware that is what they call IIML affectionately).

If you are not into GERMAN soccer one can take inspiration from Goran Ivanesevic and his quest for Wimbledon or Lance Armstrong and tour de france.

For all lesser mortals like me grit and tenacity can win you any battle under the sun and over the planet.
Bye and fell free to PM me for any help.


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